France Passes Burqa Ban For All Citizens and Tourists

France Passes Burqa Ban For All Citizens and Tourists

France Passes Burqa Ban For All Citizens and Tourists

The French Senate has almost unanimously passed a bill to impose fines on women in France wearing a full face covering veil, such as the Islamic burqa and nijab. This ban extends to tourists as well as citizens, making many moderate Islamic countries respond with criticism. Countries like Jordan and Malaysia have Islam as their state religion, but neither pose restrictions on the clothing worn by tourists. More conservative countries like Saudi Arabia do request that female tourists wear head coverings while in the country.

France’s leaders explain that the ban was motivated by their choice to protect the strong secularism and woman’s rights movements in the country. While many Islamic leaders and clerics questioned the decision, some scholars approved of it. Abdel Muti al-Bayyumi, a well respected cleric with one of the biggest mosques in Egypt, spoke to the media about the fact that full face coverage is not supported by any Islam holy texts. The mosque he is a part of has banned the burqa from female only classes held at the mosque’s university, claiming that full facial coverage limits a woman’s freedom of expression.

Unfortunately, the issue is further complicated by the anti-Islam sentiments held by many French citizens. Mosques and Islamic gathering places are often defaced and threatened in the country, and some Islamic citizens see this law as a further blow to the religion and it’s French members.

Woman who wear a burqa, nijab, or similar full face covering in public may be fined $190 and possibly required to take a citizenship course. Men and other women who try to force anyone to wear a covering could face jail time and a $19,000 fine. Although the bill has been passed, it is still awaiting approval by the Constitutional Council and will likely not become a full law until next year.


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